Australia’s Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) said on Friday it would evaluate the feasibility of converting a US coal mine into a green hydrogen production facility.
Green hydrogen is a zero-carbon, zero-methane fuel and unlike other types of hydrogen it does not require the burning of fossil fuels in the production process.
FFI said the plant would enable the decarbonisation of sectors of the North American economy and support the development of a Pacific Northwest green hydrogen hub.
The Centralia coal-fired power plant in the northwest state of Washington is scheduled to close in 2025.
“Subject to the outcome of the feasibility studies, FFI’s intention would be to seek to employ the existing coal workforce for the proposed project, facilitating a transition into the emerging green energy economy,” FFI founder and chair Andrew Forrest said.
North America As Global Green Energy Heartland
“FFI’s goal is to turn North America into a leading global green energy heartland and create thousands of green jobs now and more in the future,” he added. “Repurposing existing fossil fuel infrastructure to create green hydrogen to power the world is part of the solution to saving the planet.”
FFI has been working with the Lewis County Energy Innovation Coalition and Economic Alliance of Lewis County to undertake due diligence efforts. The county groups formed the Industrial Park at TransAlta (IPAT) to take over the mine area.
“With the closing of the coal mine and the scheduled retirement of the Centralia coal-fired power plant, IPAT was formed to redevelop the site and attract investment that will support well-paid, long-term employment opportunities in the region,” Richard DeBolt, Economic Alliance of Lewis County executive director said.
“FFI’s potential project represents the opportunity to do just that.”
FFI said it is also collaborating with Puget Sound Energy, Washington Maritime Blue and Twin Transit.
“The hydrogen production envisioned by the proposed project represents the kind of scale needed to transform our port and maritime sector by delivering zero-emission fuelling alternatives,” Jennifer States, projects and strategy vice-president at Washington Maritime Blue, said.
- Reuters, with additional editing by George Russell